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Dividing up 'Elle Girl's' Bones

Hearst Snags Subscriber Lists for 'CosmoGirl,' 'Seventeen'

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Sure the dirt's still fresh on the grave for Elle Girl's print edition. But as the ancient magazine philosophers taught, life is for the living, so this summer has found old Elle Girl rivals splitting up the dead mag's subscriber rolls even while ElleGirl.com tries to deliver on the assignment to go bigger online.
Ellegirl.com has a redesign planned for the fall that will build out ad inventory as well as mobile, video and community elements.
Ellegirl.com has a redesign planned for the fall that will build out ad inventory as well as mobile, video and community elements.

Divvying up the lists
Hearst Magazines, parent of Seventeen and CosmoGirl, bought most of the Elle Girl list a couple months back, taking only the highest quality demos and the apparent best fits for its own titles. Now the company is divvying up Elle Girl subscribers partly according to the new subscriber needs of Seventeen and CosmoGirl, a spokeswoman said.

"We're writing to share some good news!" reads the letter just received by one Elle Girl subscriber -- along with a copy of Seventeen. "Special arrangements have been made with Seventeen magazine to service your subscription for its full remaining term."

Elle Girl was shut down by Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. with about 421,000 active subscriptions, so Seventeen and CosmoGirl ought to receive nice, quick bumps in paid circulation when they report figures for the second half of this year. How many of those girls renew the subscriptions they never asked for will be the big question in 2007. (That also applies to Conde Nast's Teen Vogue this year, following its 2004 absorption of the YM subscriber list.)

Hachette spared Elle Girl.com from closure, saying that's where the future lies. So there's plenty of pressure on the site to disprove skeptics who believe the company only said that to save face.

Redesign planned for fall
Not much has changed so far -- the website has not, for example, added ad sales, editorial or production staff since the print edition folded. But the editorial staff has more senior employees among them these days, including a new fashion market editor and a new entertainment and beauty editor. Hachette is ramping up centralized digital services from which ElleGirl.com can benefit. A redesign planned for the fall will build out ad inventory as well as mobile, video and community elements.

"The site hasn't changed much yet," said Anne Sachs, executive editor, ElleGirl.com, "but I guess the only significant change is we've seen a nice increase in traffic."

ElleGirl.com drew about 500,000 people to the site in July, the first month without a print Elle Girl on the stands and about 140% more visitors than last July, according to Mr. Sachs. (Traffic to ElleGirl.com, like traffic to Conde Nast Publications' TeenVogue.com, falls below Nielsen/NetRatings' measurement threshold.)

As for making money -- something the print edition of Elle Girl never achieved -- Hachette says it is focused on growth now, "not profit."
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